Saturday, February 02, 2008

As I Was Saying

Jonathan Stayton of the Argus, a Brighton and Hove paper, urged its readers on Friday to put Brighton and Hove on the World Monopoly board.

The paper quotes the likes of: Labour MP for Kemptown, Des Turner; Labour MP for Brighton Pavilion, David Lepper; the city's lead councillor for culture, recreation and tourism, David Smith; Coun Averil Older, vice chairwoman on the culture, recreation and tourism committee; and others, saying that they think it's a good idea.

And what are the reader's reactions? Read the article's comments:
"Lets get a council that represents the residents of first rather than giving them more reason to massage their egos. Clean the place up, stop digging holes, imposing parking charges and the folly of comunal bins."

"Pander to this and you'll give another civil servant a £50K salary out of your pocket and they in turn will justify more money for a "team" etc etc reduction ad absurdam."

"More awful press release based 'journalism' from the Argus."

"Maybe they could change the dog for a traffic warden and when you land on the square, you get a parking ticket and have to pay rent...Another piece of non news from the Argus"

"David Smith and Averil Older are raging hypocrite councillors. There is great anger at their doubling of the parking charges - and yet here they are boosting something famous for its Free Parking space ... They should be seriously running the place and not wasting time on such stupidites as this."

"There is a precedent for Brighton being a Monopoly board. The original one is based on Atlantic City, a fly-blown, run-down seaside resort in which the criminal element holds sway."
And so on. Which was my point.


Nadine brought this game over with her when she came for lunch. It was a surprise inclusion with her Secret Santa package.

R-Eco (designer: Susumu Kawasaki, publisher: Z-Man Games) is a nice light card game suitable for gamers and non-gamers alike. While there is an ecological theme to the game, it is basically a unique kind of set collection game with well balanced mechanics leading to some interesting tactical play. The game starts off feeling quite random, but as you play you realize that you have a lot more control than there first appeared. It's not particularly strategic, however.

The deck has 4 colors of cards, and each card also has a value of 1 or 2. There are four stacks of VP chips, one in each color, valued 0, 1, 2, 3, 3, -2, 4, and 5, in that order. Depending on the number of players, some of these chips aren't available.

Each stack starts with 1 card from the deck above it. On your turn, you lay down one or more cards in any one color below the correspondingly colored stack and then take all the cards from above it.

If the value of the cards placed below the stack is now four or higher, you discard all these cards and take the top chip from the stack.

You replenish the cards above with a number of cards equal to the values of the total cards played below the stack plus one. So, if there are two green cards with a total value of three below the green stack, you place four cards from the deck face up above the green stack.

If you ever have more than five cards in your hand, you discard down to five. Place the discarded cards face down in front of you.

The game ends when one of the stacks runs out.

Scoring: you score only points in a color if you have at least 2 chips of that color. You score minus one for the value of each discarded card.

I've seen a lot of these light card games, now, and it's hard to make good ones. Most of them are either too random to require thinking, or too easy to master within a few games. If you get too complex, then you turn it into a mid weight game, which pretty much eliminates the breezy non-gamer feel.

No Thanks! is a nearly perfect game in this bracket. After two and a half games of R-Eco, it too seems to be a worthwhile addition.

As I was playing, I could hear the game design gears turning in the designer's head. Each part of the rules is carefully juggled. And, as it is with my own designs, and probably with many other designers' as well, the sum seems unexpectedly more than the parts.


1 comment:

Chris said...

"Brighton and Hove on the World Monopoly board"

Ha! As if this were even a plausible possibility! :)

Best wishes!